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How can the chance of memory loss due to dementia be reduced?

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Quick Answer

While no cure exists for most forms of dementia, medications, physical exercise and games that utilize cognitive skills can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of dementia, according to Mayo Clinic. Vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and Ginkgo biloba are effective in slowing the memory loss associated with dementia.

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Full Answer

Medications called cholinesterase inhibitors increase the levels of a chemical substance associated with memory, states Mayo Clinic. Memantine regulates glutamate, another brain substance crucial to memory. Studies show that combining these two medications is beneficial for dementia sufferers, although common side effects include dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. Research indicates that regular physical exercise slows the cognitive impairment associated with dementia, as does participation in mental games, such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku and word searches.

Some studies indicate that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in extracts from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree may protect brain cells from damage and deterioration, slowing memory loss progression, reports Mayo Clinic. Other studies find that Ginkgo is not an effective agent in this regard. Vitamin E appears to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, but patients with heart disease should exercise caution because large doses can be life threatening. A manufactured version of coenzyme Q10, called idebenone, appears to be a positive supplement for use in Alzheimer's treatment, but more studies are required.

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